President Trump's feud with CNN could affect the merger of its parent company Time Warner and AT&T, some industry watchers are speculating, with The New York Times recently reporting that certain advisers to the White House already debated the possibility of leveraging the potential consolidation in their favor in regards to the cable network. AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner that the second largest mobile service provider in the country describes as a "vertical merger" is still pending approval from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) that reports directly to the President, though it's currently unclear how willing would Mr. Trump be to try to block the deal due to CNN. The Atlanta, Georgia-based cable network has been the target of numerous criticism in recent months, mostly originating from the political right and the President's supporters who accused it of covering the current administration in an unfair and biased manner.
Most industry analysts believe that little stands in the way of the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, adding that the transaction is likely to be completed by the end of the year. Some opponents of the current administration aren't so certain, pointing to the President's sometimes unpredictable behavior and claiming that he's willing to act on his grudges. A number of recently emerged reports claim that Mr. Trump is looking to get the current CNN President Jeff Zucker fired in exchange for his DOJ approving the merger, while one of his pre-election promises even included a vow to block the transaction by all means due to a belief that the deal would lead to a troubling concentration of media power. The latter statement was subsequently alleviated and AT&T reportedly received assurances that its $85.4 billion acquisition won't be politicized and will receive a fair inspection under the new administration.
A number of industry analysts believe that the DOJ will officially greenlight the consolidation by the end of summer, possibly even in late August, though it remains to be seen whether the President will be looking to personally oversee the federal agency's inspection process. An update on the situation is expected to follow shortly.